The Hong Kong government will launch a fire safety inspection operation of 6,500 buildings near hawker stalls this summer, Acting Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said on Tuesday morning.
Lam’s comments came a day after the Coroner’s Court on Monday returned a verdict of accidental death on the nine people killed in a fire that started in a hawker stall in Fa Yuen Street, Mong Kok, in 2011.
Since that tragedy, the government said it had improved the management of the 43 hawker stall areas across the city to reduce fire risks.
“This summer, the Buildings Department and the Fire Services Department will launch a joint operation to inspect 6,500 old residential blocks, or blocks with mixed housing and commercial uses,” Lam said.
Inspectors will check, in particular, whether the common areas and the fire escape routes in the premises, such as stairways are blocked. Immediate action will be taken on discovery of any blocked passages.
Lam said it would take a year to inspect all of the targeted buildings.
She also said that it was illegal to live in industrial buildings, and reminded those that might be living in these buildings, usually in subdivided flats, that removal subsidies were available to assist them to move out.